AIM universal supports benefit the whole pre-school environment through empowering pre-school providers to create a more inclusive culture in their settings. This is achieved through; Continuous Professional Development (CPD), an inclusion charter and guidelines for pre-schools and a Level 6 qualification in Inclusion (LINC).
Level 1 – Inclusion Coordinator Training (LINC)
The Leadership for Inclusion in Early Years Care (LINC) qualification is a level 6 special purpose award for early years educators hosted by the LINC Consortium which is led by Mary Immaculate College and fully funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY).
With this qualification, pre-school staff can become an Inclusion Coordinator (INCO) in a pre-school setting. The role of the Inclusion Co-ordinator is to provide leadership within the early years setting in relation to issues of diversity, equality and inclusion. This includes; supporting the implementation of inclusive practices, engaging with ongoing CPD to ensure good practice in the inclusion of children with additional needs and sharing their learning with other staff members.
Where a service provider is a fully qualified Inclusion Co-ordinator or employs a fully qualified Inclusion Co-ordinator in their pre-school setting, that provider will qualify for an increase of €2 per child per week in the rate of ECCE capitation payable.
“The LINC programme really increased my confidence in talking to parents about inclusion and disability. The lessons I have learned through the programme have spread to colleagues and has created a more inclusive and quality childcare experience in my pre-school.”Margaret O Brien, Little Stars Montessori School, Laois
CPD for Inclusion Coordinators
The CPD for Inclusion Coordinators (INCOs) continuing professional development (CPD) programme is aimed at graduates of the LINC Level 6 Special Purpose Award.
Delivered completely online, the CPD programme is designed to:
- Equip participants in their role as INCOs with the requisite knowledge, practices, and values to lead inclusion in Early Learning and Care (ELC) settings and to support the implementation of the Access and Inclusion (AIM) Model.
- Offer participants strategies and supports to enable them to respond appropriately to ensure that all children can access and fully participate in ELC settings.
- Support participants in developing family, professional and community partnerships that contribute to the creation of inclusive ELC settings.
- Support participants in the development of Communities of Practice that provide fora for ELC practitioners to create inclusive ELC settings.
The documents below contain further information on LINC and the INCO role.
Inclusion Coordinator Key Documents
Level 1 – EDI Training
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Charter was developed by DCEDIY to support and empower those working in the sector to explore, understand and develop inclusive practices for the benefit of children, their families and wider society. EDI training helps providers; understand the EDI charter and guidelines, create their own inclusion charter for their setting, develop an anti-bias approach in early years and more.
These courses are free of charge and available nationwide, more information about how to apply can be found via your local CCC, you can find your local CCC at myccc.ie.
Level 3 – Continuing Professional Development
AIM also supports settings by providing three Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses in the areas of disability and inclusion these are:
- Hanen – Hanen Teacher Talk is a three day training course for providers, to help them enable young children to develop language and literacy skills.
- Lámh – Lámh is a manual sign language system used by children and adults with intellectual disability and communication needs.
- SPEL – SPEL stands for Sensory Processing E-Learning programme and helps providers support children with sensory processing difficulties.
Hanen, Lámh and SPEL are delivered by Better Start. SPEL is hosted on Better Start’s LMS (learning management system).